§ Must read: Paul Gravett sits down with the great Shaun Tan, who though of comics isn’t really in comics.
I think you’re building a mature relationship with comics without too many preconceived ideas. I think if you’d been immersed in them since childhood, perhaps you’d have had a system in place that would have been difficult to escape from?
Yeah I would have taken them for granted. But as it is, comics seemed quite a strange way of telling a story which is what intrigues me. My attraction to picture books was word-picture relationships and how pared down they can be and still make sense and also have these big gaps in between. The best comics maximise this relationship between language and image that’s not explanatory. They’re both doing different functions. It’s quite a natural extension, but that said I don’t feel like a comics artist.
Despite his feeling, THE ARRIVAL is definitely one of the finest visual stories of the century thus far — it doesn’t really get singled out too much in comics talk, maybe because so much of its impact relies on the fact that Tan just draws like a melon farmer, (above and below) but it also uses visual metaphors very, very cleverly.
§ While “Best of” lists are starting to come out fast and furious from the various subjects, The Comics Reporter’s last “Five for Friday” provides some readers lists and a good cheat sheet for those compiling their own.
§ Coontinuing to shatter the Geek/Jock schism, this labor-intensive piece finds a Batman character for every NFL team.
§ As part of the promo for the new issue of COMIC BOOK COMICS, Fred Van Lente did a chat on CBR that also included Steve Lieber and Ryan Dunlavey. There’s much to read, but it is a little hard to follow. Specifically, they talk about the much vaunted detente between Steve Lieber and pirates at 4chan which turned into a significant sales spike of 300 sopies out of the 900 sold of the underground trade. Johanna actually has the relevant portions here.
Fred Van Lente: You summed up your overall experience nicely in 3 steps in a Tweet to me & Parker. Do you remember it?
Steve Lieber: 1. No Money
Steve Lieber: 2. Lots of Money
Steve Lieber: 3. Sandwich Money
Steve Lieber: WE ROCK!
Fred Van Lente: Ha! So the spike basically was a one-time only thing.
Steve Lieber: Oh yeah, We did nothing to maintain it.
Marketing is definitely an ongoing and not one-time thing, for sure. The fact that an excellent book by Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber sold only 900 copies is just sad, however.
§ Gabby Gamboa offers a snapshot of the huge SF comics scene that includes updates on retailing, stores, and so on.
It seems like a million things have happened recently, there is so much to report. Fall started with SF Zine Fest, which was once again held at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park. It was an inspiring, energetic show that reminded me a lot of APE when APE first started. APE itself was a bit too large and unfocused for my taste this year. There seemed to be a larger emphasis on selling crafts and prints, much less on books and comics. Most people I spoke to said that sales were way down (curse this economy!) and everyone seemed to have a different opinion on what was wrong with the show and how to fix it. It will be interesting to see what direction the show will take in the future, especially now that Wondercon has moved to Anaheim.
§ Jill Thompson talks about designing ring gear for Bryan Danielson and other grapplers.
I’m happy designing Bryan’s gear for as long as he wants me to. It’s a good mix. I don’t have ideas for random guys on the roster. It just happened that comics and wrestling mixed together in the right way for us. I work well off of a mutual admiration type of relationship. He knew my work and was a fan of it and was a fan right back. He had an established gimmick that he was going to keep. He knew what he liked and gave me some direction. It’s important that the character be there for me to create something. And I’m really lucky that he’s liked most everything I’ve designed for him. Its really thrilling to see my drawings come to life. This latest set of gear has really gotten some nice compliments.
§ Brandon Graham is interviewed at Bookslut and is his normal loquacious self:
You write in King City about a how a danger for an artist is to believe your ideas are so good they don’t need refining. Is that more so when you’re young, before you have the arrogance beaten out of you?
I worry it’s more of a danger when you get older. I always think about how unhealthy the life of a comic book artist is, especially when you reach any level of success. You basically spend all day in a room, having fun drawing pictures, and then a lot of your social interaction comes when you go to a convention and people stand in line to tell you you’re a genius. I can’t think of a better way to turn someone into an asshole. I fight to avoid that. I have a really good community of friends who do comics. My wife, Marian Churchland, has her own book called Beast. James Stokoke who does Orc Stain is right down the street. We all sit around and draw together and try to not turn into crazy old people.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.